Antim Panghal Seeks New Begin For Scandal-Hit Indian Wrestling At Asiad

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Indian wrestler Antim Panghal begins her marketing campaign for a medal on the Asian Video games in Hangzhou this week hoping it can mark a recent begin for a sport mired in a sexual harassment scandal again dwelling. Three high wrestlers accused Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual misconduct in January and launched protests demanding his resignation. Photographs of star athletes being detained as they tried to march to parliament in Could went viral on social media.

The wrestling begins in Hangzhou on Wednesday with two-time under-20 world champion Panghal among the many favourites.

“I hope to place the controversies behind me and win a gold for my nation,” the 19-year-old instructed AFP earlier than leaving for Hangzhou.

Two weeks in the past she beat the world champion and a two-time European champion on her method to bronze on the World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade.

“I’m full of new power,” stated Panghal, who competes within the 53kg freestyle class on Thursday on the Lin’an Sports activities Tradition and Exhibition Centre.

Wrestling is massively widespread in rural northern India and the nation has traditionally carried out properly within the sport on the Asian Video games, bagging 59 medals, 11 of them gold.

The 66-year-old Singh, who can be a lawmaker from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling right-wing get together, has been charged with sexual harassment and stalking.

Singh, who denies all fees and has been launched on bail, claims he’s a sufferer of a conspiracy to power him out of parliament. He faces as much as 5 years in jail if discovered responsible.

Panghal, the two-time Below-20 world champion, didn’t participate within the protests however stated the demonstrations had affected the “morale of all up and coming athletes”.

Among the many three distinguished wrestlers who led the protest towards Singh, solely Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia can be in Hangzhou.

Sakshi Malik, additionally an Olympic medallist, skipped the trials for the Video games, whereas Vinesh Phogat opted out on account of a knee damage.

Phogat gained gold within the ladies’s 50kg freestyle on the Jakarta Asian Video games in 2018.

Ina separate scandal, the WFI was suspended in August by United World Wrestling, the worldwide governing physique, for not holding its elections in time.

The suspension means Indian wrestlers should compete as impartial athletes in occasions organised by the UWW and never beneath the Indian flag, one thing that upset Panghal on the current World Wrestling Championships.

“I gained a bronze on the World Championship, however I used to be heartbroken as a result of I couldn’t even put on the India jersey,” stated Panghal, from Hisar in India’s northern state of Haryana.

“I needed to put on the costume given by UWW. It damage rather a lot that I couldn’t symbolize India.”

On the Asian Video games, Panghal and different Hangzhou-bound Indian wrestlers can be allowed to compete beneath the Indian flag as it’s a continental multi-sport occasion.

“I’m actually enthusiastic about profitable a gold medal for my nation and to listen to the nationwide anthem play out,” she stated.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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